WATESOL Life Member Professor Ian Malcolm




(Written by Patsy Konigsberg, awarded by Khalin Driver, President of WATESOL)

Before we move into the conference proceedings, there is an important function we would like to perform.

Over the years WATESOL has awarded life membership to people in the field who have provided outstanding service to the profession.  Therefore, it is my great honour and privilege to announce that WATESOL, this year, is awarding that honour to Professor Ian Malcolm.

There is no more worthy recipient of this award than Professor Ian Malcolm who is a national and international icon within the academic realms of linguistics and particularly within EAL/D.

Professor Malcolm’s passion for language studies and language rights have made him the leading figure he is.  Over the years, Ian has been and continues to be an inspiration to many of us.  Particularly in Aboriginal EAL/D, where he has influenced so many to take up the work.

From his initial role as a language teacher, Ian understood early in his career, what is involved in helping students learn English.  He understood the difficulties of both, the students’ lack of access to the content of lessons and the teachers’ lack of knowledge about the difficulties EAL/D students are facing when learning Standard English.

Following this, his research work providing descriptive and contrastive linguistic descriptions of Aboriginal English, his work in sociolinguistic studies, discourse studies, historical studies, conceptual and cross-cultural/educational studies, has influenced the very tapestry of EALD understandings

It is due to his influence that Western Australia has been able to take the national lead in including the needs of Aboriginal students within the area of EAL/D.

Ian’s passion for making the education for Aboriginal students more relevant and meaningful has placed WA at the forefront of linguistic research in this area.

From his early works with the late Susan Kaldor, to research projects such as the Language and Communication Enhancement for Two-Way Education and the Towards More User Friendly Education for Students of Aboriginal English, Ian has always been keen to ensure that the research was to benefit those who needed it most: the Aboriginal EAL/D students.

Ian worked closely with Education personnel such as Dr Yvonne Haig, Aileen Hawkes, Louella Eggington, Rosemary Cahill, Glenys Collard, Patsy Konigsberg and Adriano Truscott to develop and deliver projects that were of real benefit to the school-based educators involved.  Through the research projects he led, the skills and abilities of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff were enhanced and the west Australian notion of “Two-Way” was born.  This is the approach where both benefit, the Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal side.  .

Many of the resources now so well known by educators of Aboriginal students around the world were developed under his guidance. Resources such as Two-Way English and Solid English provided the backbone for Deadly Ways to Learn and Ways of Being, Ways of Talk.  Ian provided initial guidance to Dr Judith Rochecouste, and supervised Professor Farzad Sharifian and Dr Ellen Grote, all of whom are presently engaged in further research, development of resources and influencing National directions in Aboriginal EAL/D education.

Over a span of 36 years, numerous action research projects have been developed, many of those with ground-breaking significance.  In particular the latter ones, which exemplify how the cultural conceptual interpretations differed between non-Aboriginal educators and Aboriginal students, are of high significance for educators.

Two of the resulting projects from this research were completed this year. The Understanding Stories My Way report was launched in July and the Tracks to Two-Way Learning, a 12 volume-resource, will be launched on Tuesday.

Ian’s work has been prolific and although he has been retired for some time now he still continues to present very new ideas at conferences and to develop highly inspirational academic papers. He also continues to find time to respond to the constant questions and demands from colleagues in the area particularly fellow WATESOL members. His work continues to be ground breaking and relevant to improving the field of EAL/D education.

I would now like to invite Professor Ian Malcolm to come forward to receive the award of WATESOL Life membership.